I am a big fan of networking. I like to learn of networking events and attend them. Part of meeting new people are those opportunities to network. After all, the common phrase "it's not what you know, but who you know" is becoming more common.
Lately I've been thinking of how dating and business have their own similarities. Looking for that dream job is not that different from looking for that special someone (Imagine if someone approached an employer/interest sounding desperate? "please, will you go out with/hire me?!"). When it comes to networking, however, it seems that some people to choose that it's similar to speed dating. Which is not true. I stress this to expand on what networking actually is, because it seems that some people think they know, but indeed they do not.
If you were to ask me the purpose for speed dating, it's a quick and efficient way of meeting interesting people based on first impressions, so that you can succeed in achieving a date.
In networking sessions, it may feel like speeding dating because you have time limits and quick exchanges - but you're not necessarily leaving with a job. Most of the time, networking allows you to meet someone who may know someone that can meet your business opportunity - or even better, you can meet theirs!
I've come to realize that networking may also just be a skill that is good to learn and practice. Going with the theme for this year, take any opportunity to meet new people. Help turn strangers into friends through connected communities, because friendships and relationships are invaluable.